Somebody at Google likes me. I swear, I’m not paying them anything!
Back in June of 2012 I first posted about what I saw as a flaw in the way Google indexes Google+ posts that are re-shares of other users’ posts. Since at least the spring of that year I’d found that I could very, very often beat almost anyone on Google+ in the incognito Google rankings for a post of their that I reshared, searching for the first line of the post, which is what Google seems to treat like the title tag of a web page. It’s important to note that when you do a reshare on Google+, you are creating a new web page that entirely contains the content of the original post. In essence, you are “legally” scraping their page.
For the past few days I’ve been testing this out by resharing a post from the What’s Hot page (posts that are currently going viral with lots of engagement). Every single time I’ve ended up having a search result that either ranks higher, or completely knocks out the original poster. (Google usually doesn’t rank high more than a few G+ posts for the same content, and often only shows one.)
Here’s a post documenting my domination of a popular photographer who has over 1.5 million followers on G+ (I have close to 30,000).
In discussions of this on Google+, someone challenged me to go up against a heavy hitter who, like me, uses Google Authorship (since there was a theory in the discussion that I was beating the others because I use Authorship and they don’t).
So when I saw Google+ super user Mike Elgan have a post go to What’s Hot today, I had my challenge. Mike has over 2 million followers on G+, and is one of those rare people who posts more than I do on the platform. His posts regularly get hundreds or even thousands of +1s, reshares, and comments.
Here’s the timeline tonight after I let Mike’s post sit at the top of Google for his title for 10 full hours:
9:33 AM Mike Elgan creates post, which quickly goes viral
Elgan’s #1 rank at 8:30 PM (10 hrs at #1)
Mark Traphagen reshares Elgan’s post at 8:31 PM
8:39 PM Scot Duke reshares Elgan’s post
Scot Duke at 8:42 PM, takes away Elgan’s spot
At 8:53, just 11 minutes later, Mark Traphagen takes the spot from Duke
I’m writing this at 9:40 PM, and my post remains at #1 with Elgan’s now near the bottom of page 2.
I am at a loss to explain why my profile does this.
UPDATE the next morning: Just checked, indeed Mike Elgan reclaimed the #1 spot in the SERP for his own post. I have finally met my match.
So it appears that a profile of sufficient strength can overcome my reshare outrank in the end. But it has to be Mike Elgan strong. My posts against many other users, even those with huge followings, remain in the top spot.
In the comments below, Dan Petrovic attributes this to QDF. QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) is at play here, no doubt, But….that still doesn’t explain why it is MY profile that is able (in most cases) outlast all the other sharers, and even the OP, or in this case, at least usurp the spot from the OP longer than any other resharer. There is still more at play with the strength of my profile than can just be explained by QDF.
Also, sharp observer Al Remetch noticed that at about the same time I gave up my spot back to Mike Elgan, my Virante blog post about this incident started ranking on page 1 for the same exact match keyword. As Al remarked, that may also have contributed to (or even be the reason for) my G+ post getting knocked out, as G+ posts are always going to be weaker than my blog posts, and Google seems to often (but not always) want to show only one result connected to my Authorship account for these kinds of searches.